Tag Archive - first scenes

First Pages of Best-Selling Novels: Rogue Lawyer

In our weekly look at first pages of best sellers, we’re examining what works and what doesn’t. We’ve covered numerous genres, and seen some pretty unique first pages. Some seem to break a lot of the rules authors are warned not to break: using a lot of narrative, lacking dialogue, slow getting into action, starting with the weather.

But that just goes to show the rules are made to be broken. However, what really matters on these opening pages transcends the do’s and don’ts about opening scenes, and that’s engaging the reader. And that can be done in any number of ways.

This week we’re taking a stab at mega-famous author John Grisham, whose many legal thrillers have dominated the tops of best-seller lists for months. His novel Rogue Lawyer fits right in with his twenty-six (?) other legal thrillers in presenting engaging characters and high tension. Continue Reading…

Scene Structure: Your Opening Scene

For this week’s Throwback Thursday, we’re looking at excerpts from past posts on Live Write Thrive that tie in with our exploration on scene structure.

From The Crucial Question You Must Ask in Your Opening Scene:

The True Definition of a Scene

One of the main points discussed in previous posts involved picking just the right starting place to begin your book. This means the story starts in present action, in the middle of something happening, with your POV character right in the situation and revealing her (or his) fears, dreams, needs, or goals and the obstacle that is in the way and presenting a problem. I like the way Jordan Rosenfeld in the book Make a Scene defines what a scene is: “Scenes are capsules in which compelling characters undertake significant actions in a vivid and memorable way that allows the events to feel as though they are happening in real time.” I talked before about eliminating back story and starting right in with your protagonist and hinting at her visible goal. Continue Reading…

First Pages of Best-Selling Novels: See Me

We’re starting off this new year at Live Write Thrive neck-deep into scene structure. Great scenes seem to flow effortlessly from pages of novels, but that’s far from the truth. To craft a terrific scene, a writer must keep in mind a myriad of principles and objectives.

Mondays, we’re dissecting all the components of a great scene, and to help, I’ve created a handy scene checklist (which you can download here). Be sure to subscribe to the blog and read all these posts, as well as the Throwback Thursday posts from past years that tie in with our topic this winter.

On Wednesdays for a couple of months, to further help you nail scene structure, we’ll be looking at first pages of best-selling novels of varying genres.This is our first look at many first pages. I’ll examine what makes these first pages grab readers and pull them into the novel. We’ll be using this first-page checklist to break down the key elements of these effective first pages. Keep in mind, most of what you’ll learn can apply to short stories as well as memoirs and other types of creative nonfiction.  Continue Reading…